Date of Award

2006

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Teaching

Advisor

Francois Amar

Second Committee Member

Mitchell Bruce

Third Committee Member

Michael Wittmann

Abstract

We start from a set of survey results which show what ideas general chemistry students have of the constituent concepts of Beer's law: concentration, path length, the nature of light and its absorption by matter. These results have informed our development of a set of lab exercises designed to help students construct their model of Beer's law by analogy with macroscopic models of concentration and path length. Pre- and post-testing of student understanding was carried out and the results compared with the same testing in a control group that was simply given information in a didactic manner. A statistically significant gain in student understanding of Beer's law was observed. The results are discussed in the light of the need for improved concept integration into the laboratory curriculum which tends to favor learning of techniques.

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